Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin disregarded Chinese President Xi Jinping by stationing nuclear weapons in Belarus after they both agreed to not deploy nuclear weapons beyond their national territories.
“Both Putin and [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko humiliated Xi. Remember, Luka was just treated to a fancy state visit to China. Xi just came to Moscow. Can’t imagine this decision is going down well in Beijing,” McFaul wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The former U.S. ambassador was referring to Lukashenko’s recent visit to China in which he discussed the war in Ukraine with Xi earlier this month. China, one of Russia’s strongest allies, has long claimed neutrality in the war in Ukraine, and even issued a proposal in February for cease-fire and peace talks. However, China also repeatedly touted its “no-limits” partnership with Russia and refused to call the war in Ukraine an invasion.
Despite their close relations, Russia seems to have overlooked its joint statement with China, saying that both countries would not deploy nuclear weapons beyond their national borders. Putin on Saturday announced the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus where Russian troops were training for the initial invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.
“Not good. Putin is sending nukes to Belarus,” McFaul tweeted about Putin’s announcement on Saturday. Meanwhile, head of Ukraine’s national security council, Oleksiy Danilov, said on Sunday on Twitter that Russia has taken Belarus “as a nuclear hostage,” which is contributing towards the “internal destabilization” in Ukraine.
Putin’s decision reportedly came in response to the United Kingdom providing Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium, according to the Associated Press. The Russian leader has falsely accused the U.K. of providing Ukraine weapons “with a nuclear opponent.”
“I would like to highlight that, without breaking our international commitments on not spreading nuclear weapons, we already helped our Belarus colleagues to re-equip their planes. Planes of Belarus Air Forces. Ten planes are ready for using this type of weapon,” Putin said during a broadcast on Saturday. “We already transferred to Belarus our well known and very effective Iskander complex, and it can also be a carrier.”
Days before his decision, Moscow and Beijing issued a joint statement on the deployment of nuclear weapons abroad, according to Russian news agency TASS.
“All nuclear powers must not deploy their nuclear weapons beyond their national territories, and they must withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad,” the statement read.
Xi arrived in Moscow on Monday to discuss China’s peace plan to end the war in Ukraine. The Chinese president reportedly reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Russia in its position on the United Nations Security Council and reiterated Beijing’s hopes of reaching a “political settlement” in the Ukraine war. Meanwhile, Putin announced a number of measures that showed Russia’s dependence on China in the economic and energy sectors, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign affairs ministry by email for comment.
“Despite their close relations, Russia seems to have overlooked its joint statement with China, saying that both countries would not deploy nuclear weapons beyond their national borders. Putin on Saturday announced the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus where Russian troops were training for the initial invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.”
Maybe both view Belarus as a part of mafia land? Maybe the US should send nukes to Poland as an answer? Oh, I forgot, we have a big pansy in the WH.
Well, I don’t think it is a good idea to answer every nuclear move with more nukes, especially because I doubt this will add a lot of capability.
Also the U.S. already has nukes in Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany and probably some other countries, although not missiles but nuclear weapons for fighter jets.
I think the good thing about this is that China, even though it is a bad country, isn’t a fan of nukes.
They don’t have a lot of them themselves and they never threaten with them.
I don’t think it is because they are saints, but because they don’t like things to be unpredictable.
That is also why I think they weren’t happy with the invasion of Ukraine as they weren’t involved in this decision, not because they like Ukraine but because they don’t know where it is heading.
Don’t give the chinks too much credit, Bert. If they were as unhappy with all of this, then why are they propping this fascist crime syndicate up? They might not be totally happy with the developments, but not in such a manner to do anything concrete about it either.
I think the nukes were removed from Turkey because of political unrest several years ago.
To add to this: I don’t think we need an answer to every new threat.
For example, Russia may very well have hypersonic missiles.
But the missiles the U.S. currently have are just fine, why does the U.S. need to spend money for no additional capability.
They need to be able to strike Russian territory, and they already can.
I think an army should invest in capabilities, not in things that can achieve the exact same in a different way.
If Russia spends money on things they don’t need: why not let them instead of copying their failing strategy.
No, we really don’t need to answer every new threat with more investments in dead-end weapons. But, I’m not informed enough to judge this about hypersonic ones. If they do give us an edge, we should follow this path. We are more capable than the mafiosi and so if they are a viable weapon system, we should and will be on top.
We know Vladolf is completely incapable of keeping his word, but to break your word after ten minutes? Who knows, maybe they both did it, both are expert liars…
Seriously!? I cannot imagine that this (nuclear) topic was not discussed during the two visits (Luka to Beijing, and Xi to Moscou). Xi the most important partner of Russia!
I’ve no doubts that it’s just words, just usual Russian threat allowed by Beijing.
Just for the matter of security, you imagine possible that PUTIN give nukes to Luka, when a simple drone strike an awacs?! Moreover, is the internal security of Belarus really safe for this?
Today “Hungary’s parliament approved a bill to allow Finland to join NATO”.
In my opinion, that is just the reason for this rhetoric.
Your point about the drone strike on the ruskie AWACS is a good one.
Stupid article. Russia needs the nuclear fear factor to inhibit aid from the West. China knows this. China knows, of course, Russia is going to go with the sword rattling in the same way the North Korea has off the rails rhetoric. It makes them seem like more of a threat than they actually are – a small animal making itself look bigger.
China is happy to let Russia discredit themselves. It does them no harm.
Anyone is welcome to offer an opinion. 😉